1. The first recommendation is that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) be repealed so that the CHRC and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) would no longer deal with hate speech, in particular hate speech on the Internet.
Hate speech should continue to be prohibited under the Criminal Code but confined to expression that advocates, justifies or threatens violence. In the fight against hate on the Internet, police and prosecutors should make greater use of section 320.1 of the Criminal Code, which gives a judge power to order an Internet service provider (ISP) to remove “hate propaganda” from its system.
Each province should establish a provincial “Hate Crime Team,” composed of both police and Crown law officers with experience in the area to deal with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes including hate speech under the Criminal Code.
2. The second part of the recommendations concerns changes that should be made to section 13 of the CHRA if it is not repealed.
These changes would reshape section 13 so that it more closely resembles a criminal restriction on hate speech.
1. changes to the language in order to clarify that the section prohibits only the most extreme instances of discriminatory expression, that threatens, advocates or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group;.
2. the amendment of section 13(1) of the CHRA to include an intention requirement; and
3. the amendment of the CHRA to establish a distinct process for the investigation of section 13 complaints by the CHRC. Under the amended process, the CHRC would receive inquiries and information from individuals or community groups but would no longer investigate and assess formal complaints.
The CHRC would have the exclusive right to initiate an investigation in section 13 cases. If, following an investigation, the CHRC recommends that the case be sent to the CHRT, the CHRC would have carriage of the case before the Tribunal.
This would remove the significant burden that under the existing system falls on the complainant. It would also enable the CHRC to dismiss (decide not to pursue) a “complaint” earlier in the process, when it finds that the communication at issue does not breach the section 13(1) standard and is unlikely to succeed at Tribunal.
3. The third set of recommendations concerns the role of non-state actors in the prevention of expression that is hateful or discriminatory in character.
The major Internet service providers (ISPs) should consider the creation of a hate speech complaint line and the establishment of an advisory body, composed of of individuals with expertise in hate speech law, that would give its opinion as to whether a particular website hosted by an ISP has violated section 13 of the CHRA or the “hate propaganda” provisions of the Criminal Code.
If this body were to decide that the complaint is well founded, the ISP host would then shut down the site on the basis of its user agreement with customers.
Newspapers and news magazines should seek to revitalize the provincial/regional press councils and ensure that identifiable groups are able to pursue complaints if they feel they have been unfairly represented in mainstream media.
If this does not happen, consideration should be given to the statutory creation of a national press council with compulsory membership. This national press council would have the authority to determine whether a newspaper or magazine has breached professional standards and order the publication of the press council’s decision.
A newspaper is not simply a private participant in public discourse; it is an important part of the public sphere where discussions about the affairs of the community takes place. As such it carries a responsibility to portray the different groups that make up the Canadian community fairly and without discrimination.
REACTION from around the web…
I am suspicious of all this “ISP” talk, and VERY suspicious of the view of the newspaper as “public utility” rather than private property that can theoretically be hijacked/commandeered for “the public good.” Such Marxist thinking makes repeats of the Levant and Steyn cases more likely, rather than less so.
Deborah Gyapong: “I can almost not believe my eyes.”
SDA: “Update: Unconfirmed sources report that an advisor to the Michael Ignatieff Liberal leadership campaign will be issuing a statement discounting the Moon Report as the work of a ‘Nazi sympathizer’… developing…“(…) “this report just laid bare their throat. Should attention be shifted away by the abolition of Sec.13, it will simply shift towards the provincial bodies, and the ridiculous complaints accpeted from dope addicts and aging pole dancers.”
(See also “ET” in SDA’s comments for an outstanding “yeah, but” critique. For example, what if WE are discussing Muslim supremicists’ “advocating violence” on the internet? Will we be arrested or will they or both? For that we have to look to Moon’s repeated mention of “intention.”)
Jay Currie will have more after he reads the whole Moon Report. However, he notes from the CHRC press release that they are “seeking submissions on the issues and recommendations contained in the Moon Report. These consultations will help guide the CHRC in the formulation of a Special Report to Parliament on the issue of hate speech on the Internet and s. 13. This Report will be tabled in Parliament by mid-2009.”
Mark Steyn at The Corner:
This is a great tribute to what Ezra calls his campaign of “denormalization” of Canada’s Orwellian “human rights” racket. They’re not yet ready to throw in the towel completely, but it’s fluttering limply on the edge of the ring. Canada may be preparing to rejoin the ranks of free nations.
I’m especially grateful to the support I’ve received from Stanley Kurtz and other NR colleagues, and from many readers, who recognize that America’s chances of remaining a beacon of liberty are greatly diminished if the lights go out over the rest of the western world.
Steyn’s thoughts at his own blog include a jab at Moon’s suggested “hate speech complaint lines”:
This reveals Professor Moon as a sadly out-of-touch figure with no idea how the Internet works. Any “complaint line” would quickly fill up with trolls barraging the ISPs with nuisance complaints about their enemies: It’s easy to foresee, say, Warman-Kinsella types clogging up the complaints line with grievances against Ezra Levant’s website. And it’s easy to see that ISPs, having no desire to micromanage small we
bsites day in day out, would respond by pre-emptively refusing business from anything remotely controversial. The interesting websites would be obliged to find non-Canadian hosts. (…)
Professor Moon should have quit while he was ahead. Abolish Section 13, get out of the censorship business, and let Canadians read what they want and say what they want. Anything else puts creeps like [THE GUY WHO IS SUING US] and ahistorical nitwits like Jennifer Lynch back in the picture.
Joseph Brean at the National Post with news and background:
Section 13 is a federal law — initially written for telephone hate lines but expanded in 2001 to include the Internet and, by extension, almost all modern media — that prohibits the repeated distribution of messages that are likely to expose an identifiable group to hatred or contempt. Some provincial human rights commissions have similar laws that deal with printed material.
Ezra Levant is surprised:
It’s the Prime Minister’s move now. He was too tolerant with Lynch, letting her upstage Parliament. Now she proposes to have hearings and consultations – clearly Parliament’s function. How much longer will Lynch continue to give her bosses orders? How much longer will they allow her to play MP?
I’m surprised by Moon’s recommendation, and I’m glad I was proved wrong. Lynch was surprised, too, and now she wants a do-over. Lynch has made herself the chief obstacle to reform.
We’ve seen how Stephen Harper has excised other media-hounds, prima donas and saboteurs from the civil service before. Will he apply the same standard to Lynch? Or will he continue to allow his government to be led around by the nose?
Lynch isn’t part of the solution, she’s part of the problem – and now she’s a cover-up artist. It’s time for Harper to show leadership.
Fire. Them. All.